(After talking it over with Art Jimmerson, Ricardo Mayorga opts for a very traditional game plan against Din Thomas. PicProps: Sherdog.com)
UPDATE: SI.com’s Josh Gross reports via Twitter that a judge actually did rule in favor of Don King Productions on Saturday, but further updates indicate Shine Fights might say "damn the man" and move forward with Ricardo Mayorga vs. Din Thomas anyway. More as it develops …
Lest James Toney get too comfortable in his standing as mixed martial arts’ resident crazy-mouthed pugilist, former boxing champ and all-around maniac Ricardo Mayorga also makes his MMA debut tonight. Or at least we think he will.
Mayorga, who is best known for his public beer drinking, cigarette smoking and across-the-board not-giving-a-fuck, is slated to face Din Thomas in the independent Shine Fights promotion in Fayetteville, NC. The company remains steadfast that the show – available on PPV for a mere $29.95, if you’re interested – will go on despite some last-minute legal wrangling by Don King. The hirsute boxing promoter was
seeking granted an injunction this week to stop Mayorga from appearing, claiming it would violate King’s exclusive contract with the fighter. As of this moment that request – which sounds suspiciously like legalese for: "Break me off a piece, homie," – has not been granted.
Mayorga’s heavy-handed style and complete disregard for his own well-being made him a favorite among fight fans during the early part of the decade. Unfortunately, those times are long gone now. Like Toney, Mayorga is probably about to join the club of aging former boxers who let their mouths write checks their decrepit, unprepared asses won’t be able to cash when the bell rings. Naturally, that didn’t stop him from showing up at the prefight press conference in New York City last month dressed like an extra from "American Me" to describe – through his grandmotherly interpreter – the outfit he likes to wear when he makes love to his wife and to say, among other things, that he plans to knock Thomas out in under two minutes.
Seriously, if you haven’t seen the video, you really should. It’s a handy 10-minute primer into what Ricardo Mayorga is all about.
Thomas appeared unfazed by the shit talk, possibly because he’s riding a three-fight win-streak and is 6-2 in MMA over the last four years while Mayorga just is 3-3 in punching-only bouts since 2003 … or possibly because Thomas is a BJJ black belt under Ricardo Liborio. That tends to boost a guy’s confidence headed into a fight against someone with no ground game.
Just to ensure that it doesn’t somehow become in any way relevant, Thomas vs. Mayorga will go down at a catchweight of 160-pounds. In fact, being the slightly physically larger fighter could be Mayorga’s one real advantage over Thomas in a mixed-style contest, since the UFC vet recently announced he planned to drop to featherweight after spending most of his career at 155.
With a PPV slot already procured and a national advertising campaign underway, Shine Fights has no choice but to keep its head down and hope some damned liberal judge doesn’t start legislating from the bench this weekend. It seems like the company may be on pretty solid legal ground though, pointing out that King’s contract with Mayorga pertains only to boxing.
The snobs among you – meaning those of you who need actual, trained MMA fighters if you’re going to give this show a second sniff – should note that "Ninja" Rua, Nick Thompson, Jamal Patterson, "Krazy Horse" Bennett and Luiz Azeredo are all on the card as well. Additionally, 2009 ADCC absolute champ Braulio Estima will make his MMA debut.
There was even more pushing and shoving at yesterday’s weigh-in. The televised card begins at 9 p.m., EST.